MP calls for more funding for fire services in Merseyside amid cuts
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26 Oct 2018
West MP Margaret Greenwood has called on the Chancellor to deliver more money
for fire services ahead of next Monday's budget.
This comes following a meeting with representatives of the Fire Brigades Union
in Parliament earlier this week. Ms Greenwood met with Mark Rowe, the Regional
Secretary for the North West, and Dave Topping, Officers
Section Chair for the Merseyside branch.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
Fire and Rescue Service has been hit disproportionately by government cuts with
a previous 52% cut to its revenue support grant.
2010 and 2020, firefighter numbers in Merseyside will have been reduced from
927 to 580.
fire engines will have been cut from 42 to 22.
stations have also been closed or earmarked for closure, including West Kirby
and Upton in Wirral West.
cuts are dangerous and are putting the safety of the public, and firefighters
themselves, at increased risk.
“The Conservative government cannot go on cutting public
services to the bone as they have done for the past eight years.
"The primary duty of any government is to ensure the safety of its
“It is time for the government to give Merseyside Fire
and Rescue Service the funding it needs.”
of cuts from central government, the majority of fire stations now only have
one fire engine, whereas in 2010, many had two.
Closures, earmarked closures, and
downgrading of stations, including at West
Kirby, Allerton, Whiston, Huyton, Eccleston, Upton, Crosby, Aintree, Eccleston and
Kensington, axing of fire engines and axing firefighters results in increased
attendance times as fire engines travel from further afield.
increase in attendance times means that a fire has more time to develop, this
results in a greater risk to the public and firefighters. Increased attendance
times also mean that people trapped in fires, machinery, vehicles or lifts have
to wait longer for us to arrive.
engines are now mostly crewed with four firefighters as opposed to the safer
number of five firefighters. The reduced crew size means we are limited in what
we can do when we arrive at incidents. Firefighters now face the most terrible
moral dilemma when they arrive at house fires with a crew of only four. Do we
perform rescues or fight the fire?
let me be quite clear firefighters will always put the public first, we will
always attempt to rescue people, even if that means we have to jeopardise our
own safety to do so. This appalling government know that, and that’s how they
get away with cuts compromising our safety, your safety.
Fire and Rescue Service conducted a public consultation in 2016, prior to
Grenfell. There is no doubt that the tragedy at Grenfell was a game changer for
all fire and rescue services. It took 40 fire engines in the initial stages to
deal with Grenfell. Merseyside only has 22 fire engines so could not possibly
cope with an incident of that scale. Recently a routine fire on board a ship in
Liverpool resulted in there being no fire cover at all on the Wirral, resulting
in Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service having to come into the Wirral to deal with
a road traffic collision.”